bar, the

bar, the

bar, the, originally, the rail that enclosed the judge in a court; hence, a court or a system of courts. The persons qualified and authorized to conduct the trial of cases are also known collectively as "the bar." From late medieval times in England the Inns of Court acted as training schools for men who were to plead causes in the courts, and when a student was judged to be trained in competence, he was "called to the bar" of the Inn; automatically he was then judged competent to plead at the bar of the courts. Modern bar associations, through which the legal profession regulates itself, derive from the Inns of Court. Attorneys must be admitted to the bar before they can practice law in the United States. The requirements for admission vary among the states, but generally an applicant must be of good moral character, have completed a stated course of study at a law school, and have passed a bar examination. The last two requirements were once satisfied by clerking and "reading law" with a practicing attorney. A lawyer can be prohibited from practicing law (disbarred) for conduct impeding justice, criminal acts involving moral turpitude, or unethical professional conduct. The first state to allow women admission to the bar was Iowa (1869), and Great Britain admitted women to law practice in 1919. There are 180 American Bar Association-approved law schools in the United States, the oldest being Harvard Law School, founded in 1817.
Get Up and Bar the Door is a medieval Scots song about a battle of wills between a husband and wife. It is Child ballad 275. According to Child, it was first published by David Herd.


The song begins with the wife busy in her cooking and other chores. As the wind picks up, the husband tells her to close and bar the door, but she insists that he do it himself. They make a pact that the next person who speaks must bar the door, and the door remains open. At midnight two thieves enter the house and eat the pudding that the wife has just made. The husband and wife watch them, but still neither speaks out of stubborn pride. Amazed, one of the thieves proposes to cut off the husband's beard and molest the wife. Finally the husband shouts "Ye’ve eaten my bread, ye hae druken my ale, and ye’ll mak my auld wife a whore!" The wife responds "Ye hae spoke the first word. Get up and bar the door."

In some versions, the husband is named as Johnie Blunt of Crawford Moor. Child notes that the song was used by Prince Hoare to provide one of the principal scenes in his musical entertainment, No Song, No Supper, performed at Drury Lane in 1790.

Among many things, this folk ballad talks about the sense of lasting competition in a relationship. The man tries to maintain his power but the woman refuses because she does not want to be treated like a doormat. The ballad makes the point that being stubborn has no benefits, by being stubborn they lost pudding and subjected their possessions to be stolen.


  • Martin Carthy - Shearwater (as "John Blunt")
  • Ewan MacColl sang it on "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (The Child Ballads) Volume I" (1956)
  • Maddy Prior and June Tabor sang it on "No More to the Dance" as "The Barring of the Door" (1988)


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